US magazine speaks highly of Vietnam’s leadership capacity in ASEAN

 The prestigious US-based political magazine Foreign Policy has recently highlighted Vietnam’s enhanced leadership capacity in the ASEAN in an article titled “Vietnam steps up to take ASEAN leadership role”. 
August 03, 2020 | 10:50
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US-based magazine Foreign Policy hailed Vietnam's capacity in leadership role
US-based magazine Foreign Policy hailed Vietnam's capacity in leadership role (Photo: Captured)

Accordingly, Foreign Policy states that Vietnam’s assumption of the ASEAN chairmanship in the most challenging year ever.

Vietnam had been gearing for this important year, where the country not only chairs ASEAN but also serves as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, it stated.

The article said Vietnam has repeatedly proven its ability to host important regional forums and even high-level meetings of global importance, such as the highly challenging DPRK-US summit in Hanoi last year. The author hailed this as a remarkable makeover, especially as the country just broke out from diplomatic isolation with the normalization of relations with the US and the joining ASEAN in the mid-1990s.

Foreign Policy emphasized that Vietnam has earned further respect and recognition from its neighbors, including much wealthier and more developed ones like Singapore, Thailand, and Malaysia, thanks to its impressive response to COVID-19.

Effective and early recovery put Vietnam in a better position to think beyond the crisis management and have more strategic bandwidth for regional matters,” it held.

Vietnam is predicted by the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and Asian Development Bank that “has the highest chances in the region to come out of the post-coronavirus economic crisis in relatively better shape”, which is considered a significant shift in Vietnam’s position in ASEAN.

In terms of diplomacy, Hanoi has been taking up an even more pivotal role in the bloc regarding diplomatic aspects. It emphasized that Vietnam highly respects ASEAN norms, maintains a consistent foreign policy, and has “stepped up to socialize these norms to the other newer members.”

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc speaks at the opening ceremony of the 36th ASEAN Summit on June 26

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc speaks at the opening ceremony of the 36th ASEAN Summit on June 26 (Photo: Nhan Dan)

It held that, given the crisis enveloping the world, the main objective of Vietnam’s 2020 ASEAN Chairmanship is to preserve the bloc’s unity and solidarity. “The high expectations from the other ASEAN members and dialogue partners reflect the level of confidence in Vietnam’s diplomatic capability,” the article said.

Huong Le Thu, the author behind the article, commented that Hanoi shepherded a strong joint statement following the 36th ASEAN Summit, which openly reflected the tense situation in the region—a departure from ASEAN’s usual evasive statements on this matter.

Vietnam Prime Minister was also mentioned for his calling for the “full and strict compliance” of the rules in the South China Sea and is a statement saying ASEAN was “making every effort to establish an effective” code of conduct with China.

Vietnam’s consistent South China Sea policy may have cost it some diplomatic points with China but, according to the article, will be considered in Hanoi as a sign of success in its policy of uncompromising internationalization of the disputes and keeping the South China Sea a regional security issue, rather than a bilateral issue between China and individual Southeast Asian claimant states.

By taken up this role when few ASEAN members wanted to, or even supported that, Vietnam has taken on a security leadership role, at least partially, in ASEAN”, the article wrote.

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